The troubled fruit and juice producer Ocean Spray saw its growers agree to a compromise yesterday over the make-up of the cooperative's board, following disagreements over whether to remain independent.

A group of growers had said in January that they wished to elect a new board, made up of directors who wished to see the cooperative remain independent, to replace the existing 12-member board.

However, Ocean Spray yesterday elected an expanded slate of directors recommended by the current board, preliminary results showed.

Ocean Spray is owned by more than 900 growers who sacked one board of directors last year following an unsuccessful attempt by rival Northland Cranberries to acquire the Ocean Spray juice brand for US$800m.

A new board then said it would look at strategic options, including a sale of the Ocean Spray juice brand or a minority stake in the business. However, in January this board, though still reviewing the sale of a minority stake, said it would not sell the Ocean Spray brand.

Private equity firms Vestar Capital Partners and Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co are thought to be interested in making an investment, as is PepsiCo.

However, the dissident growers, who still favour independence, make any deal unlikely at present.